Teaching About Meritocracy, School Funding, and the Relationship of Funding to Educational Outcomes
I created the activities represented in the slides below to have an engaging and interactive way with which to teach college students about school funding and to have student-created artifacts that might prompt students to call into question the uniquely American notion of educational meritocracy. Far too few Americans--including college students interested in becoming K-12 teachers--understand how public schools are funded and how different schools receive radically different funding based in large part upon local rule and tax values. At the same time, many Americans have been inculcated with the belief that hard work and talent alone can pave the way to social and economic success. They assume that, thanks to free public education, the playing field is relatively level for all students regardless of other non-school contexts. These activities highlight the flaws in such a belief.
Two of my colleagues and I used the activities above in a series of introduction to education courses. We recorded our students' reactions and analyzed the results of using the activity. Our experiences are described in the article below.